Southern Poverty Law Center: Number Of Anti-Muslim Hate Groups On The Rise

Anti-Muslim graffiti defaces a shi’ite mosque at the Islamic Center of America January 23, 2007 in Dearborn, Michigan. Vandals defaced the mosque on January 22 and other mosques in the area have been vandalized in the past several weeks. The Islamic Center of America hosted a press conference last week to complain about Northwest Airlines for it’s treatment of a group of Muslims who were returning to the United States from a religious pilgramage. They have been receiving hate mail since the news conference. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)


Washington (AP) — The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States has nearly tripled since 2015, due in part to radical Islamic attacks and the incendiary rhetoric of last year’s presidential campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center says.

The number of anti-Muslim groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016, the SPLC said in a report released Wednesday. The number of hate groups overall tracked by the watchdog group also increased to 917 last year from 892 the previous year, the report said.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The report blamed the increase in part on “incendiary rhetoric” from the campaign of now-President Donald Trump, which included threats to ban Muslim immigrants and “mandate a registry of Muslims in America.” It also cited as factors “the unrelenting propaganda of a growing circle of well-paid ideologues” — well-paid employees of anti-Muslim groups, the group said — and radical Islamist attacks such as the June 2016 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.